When it comes to your car, you should always have gas

By on May 10, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Posted in: Safety and Insurance Issues

I’ve run out of gas plenty of times. It’s no big deal. I just walk to the garage, grab the gas can, refill the tank on the mower and get back to work.

However, running out of gas in one’s car or truck presents more of a problem. Not only could it strand you many miles from civilization – inconveniencing you at least, and possibly putting you in danger – it’s also not good for your vehicle’s engine. Gas has cooling properties, and an engine that’s “running on fumes” is more likely to overheat. Running out of gas can damage your fuel pump as well.

With gas prices reaching unprecedented heights, people are running out of gas more frequently these days. I don’t recall ever doing so in my car, but more than once I’ve found myself rolling along with the gas gauge below “E,” anxiously hoping to find an open gas station around the next corner before my motor sucks the last few drops out of the tank. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, to say the least.

My most recent such experience was just this year, during a February snowstorm that paralyzed traffic in the Washington, D.C., area. OK, it doesn’t take much snow to do that, but this was a pretty serious storm by local standards. I’d started out with about a quarter-tank of gas, but after four hours behind the wheel, that was almost gone. I was only half a mile or so from a gas station, but traffic wasn’t moving at all. I wound up parking my nearly empty car on a side street and trudging through the snow to shelter – which, thankfully, wasn’t far away.

Since then, I’ve decided to do what the experts recommend, and not let my gas supply get below a quarter-tank. Or maybe half a tank if there’s snow in the forecast.

How about you? Any running-out-of-gas tales you’d like to share?